Okay, here's word (or an auto brand to be exact): Porsche. What associations do you conjure up when you hear that brand name? Is it a stylish, sleek sporty coupe that's fast and luxurious? If so, you're definitely in the majority. Until 2009, Porsche had only these types of vehicles in its lineup, but with 2009 came the dawn of a new age for Porsche, as this is when it unveiled its first sporty full-size sedan, the Porsche Panamera. The Panamera's powerful personality, luxurious interior, and nimble performance will have you regretting you ever envisioned a coupe as the brand's star attraction. The four-door Porsche Panamera sedan was first revealed at the Shanghai International Auto Show, and, by two years later, diesel and hybrid variants of the vehicle were launched as well. The diesel is currently available for European markets, but it is not available yet in the U.S., as Americans have yet to accept diesel engines for more use than big trucks and other large vehicles.
The Porsche Panamera sedan's was derived from the Carrera Panamericana race (as was the Porsche Carrera's name). While its name harkens back to this race, its design is regarded as the long-awaited product of the late 1980s Porsche 989 concept. The Panamera is generally considered a higher performance alternative to other brand's luxury sedans like the Audi A8, the BMW 7-Series, and several Aston Martin vehicles. It's certainly faster than most traditional sedans. Its sporty variant, the 2012 Panamera S sedan, which we will focus on in this review, has a top track speed of 175 mph (15 mpg more than the standard version) and a lowered zero-to-sixty time of 5.2 seconds (lowered to 5.0 with the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus) due to its powerful 4.8-liter, 400 horsepower front engine. It also features Porsche's PDK rear-wheel-drivetrain.
The Porsche Panamera sedan is a versatile vehicle that appeals to all types of drivers, and it also broadens Porsche's image to include consumers beyond its traditional sports car fans. And, with the Porsche Panamera S, drivers get even more added sport power. Unlike the 911, which can be sparse inside, it's also loaded to the max with comfort and luxury features. If you prefer your comfort and style with a good dose of power, the 2012 Porsche Panamera S could be the car for you.
There are quite a few variants of the Panamera sedan from which to choose, (eight to be precise) including the standard Panamera, the sportier Panamera S, the AWD Panamera 4 and 4S, the turbo-charged, ultra-sporty Panamera GTS, the Panamera S Hybrid, and the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S. The Panamera S sedan has a starting MSRP about $15-thousand higher than the based at $90,300, which is a reasonable starting price for such a luxurious vehicle. The Panamera is also family-friendly and has relatively decent fuel economy ratings (for a sporty variant) of up to 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.